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Bird Brown: Summertime means R&R for many of us

Recreation: Refreshment of one's mind or body after work through activity that amuses or stimulates; the employment of time in a non-profitable way, also a therapeutic refreshment of one's body or mind.

Summer is here. Finally, after suffering through a grueling school year, a long, cold winter, and not much of a spring, we enter this week with a bang as the year’s first real “heat wave” comes in to town.

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Temperatures are predicted to rise; a Code Orange was issued in Baltimore City for its residents, and Carroll coaches received our first text of the season warning us of a Code Yellow to be sure to give our athletes plenty of breaks from activity and hydration replacement.

I love catching up with people’s summer activities through Facebook and Instagram to see what everyone chooses to do with their spare time. It doesn’t take long for those with kids to begin enjoying their summer family time.

The first thing you see are the obligatory opening of the pool shots.

Most people shoot for the Memorial Day opening, but there are few stragglers that get around to it when the kids are finally out for good. That’s OK, it makes up for the overachievers who open their pool with the first sign of warmth, only to sit and stare at it for the next 30 days when the water gets warm enough to tolerate for longer periods of time.

You see a family pile into a car full of suitcases, coolers and bags of food, sports equipment and the obligatory pool noodles, hand their kids iPads or some other electronic device in the back seat, and drive to far off lands to tackle adventures of theme parks, mountainous terrain, or sandy beaches.

The sports nut families share their pictures of activities they find around their kids’ tournament schedules, along with the shots of their teams in action. There are friends who I see are at a rugby combine for college players, soccer ID camps for prospective collegiate players, swim meets, football seven-a-side games, and “committed” lacrosse tournaments for whatever that means.

My own family will once again extend the tradition of heading to the Outer Banks for our beach week, I believe for the 30th consecutive year, as 25 of our closest family and friends will invade the peninsula for a long week of debauchery, decadence, rest, and relaxation.

There are rumblings that there might be another deep-sea fishing excursion this year; the last one many years ago came complete with my “chumming” from the side of the boat for seven hours as my father-in-law and brother-in-law took advantage and reeled in many mahi-mahi.

Teachers have some of the best summer plans as they plan all year for the needed mental break that comes with spending time with their families and their own kids, away from the pressures of an underappreciated position.

Many of my friends have taken their game on the road and are sending pictures back of treasured sites from distant lands like Greece, Switzerland, Norway, and Italy.

My hallmates have given Chip and Joanna Gaines all they can handle with a “Fixer Upper” renovation of their pickup truck to serve as a mini-efficiency apartment while they drive cross country to hike the Appalachian Trail.

When I asked them when they planned to return, their answer was simple, “sometime before school starts in August.”

Another friend left with his family (both parents are teachers as well) at the end of our last day of teacher in-service and headed out west where they were going to jump on an Alaskan cruise for 10 days, then make their return trip as they drive back through Canada. This followed up their trip from last summer when they took a southern route to California and back.

For me, this is the first time since 1999 when we started the Wolves soccer program for kids that I have not organized, run, or worked a soccer camp at all.

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I’ll miss the soccer, but will enjoy my own time as I fight back a yard that is attempting to become a “woods,” catch up on some writing activities that I’ve had in my head for years that needs to get on paper (well at least in to my hard drive), and enjoy the multitude of concerts that I have lined up with my family that will undoubtedly put a smile on my face and a little kick to my hobble.

This week alone, I felt like I was back in my 20s touring three different cities for three different Dead & Company shows but still have John Mayer, Greensky Bluegrass, and Billy Joel at Camden Yards yet to come.

Oh yeah, and tickets to “Hamilton” at the Hippodrome.

My favorite part of the recreation definition is, “therapeutic refreshment of one's body or mind.”

Whatever it is that can take you there, find a way to do it. As marketing pioneer and U.S. Postmaster General John Wanamaker once said, “People who cannot find time for recreation are obliged sooner or later to find time for illness.”

Doesn’t relaxation sound a whole lot better?

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